Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Help make the Parliamentary Bill process fit for the 21st century

Having witnessed at painfully close quarters the hideous gestation and birth 2005's appalling populist pre-election monstrosity that was the Dugs Bill (truly the Rosemary's Baby of modern drug legislation) I cannot help but applaud the latest effort from the internet democracy legends at TheyWorkforYou to drag the Parliamentary Bill process from the dark ages into the modern world. TheyWorkforYou already provide the most brilliant free service in making Hansard available to the world in a way that is accessible, user friendly , and allows feedback (y'know democracy etc.)

So commoners, don't forget that the big scary building with all the pointy towers you see on the news, the one full of all the bossy posh people shouting, well, it's actually your house, paid for by you, and all those people are in fact your servants, they do your bidding and can only produce horrors like the Drugs Bill bad things when you're not looking and let them get away it. So please read this, sign up, and pay attention.

The Nice Polite Campaign to
Gently Encourage Parliament to Publish Bills
in a 21st Century Way, Please.

Writing, discussing and voting on bills is what we employ our MPs to do. If enough MPs vote on bills they become the law, meaning you or I can get locked up if they pass a bad one.

Bills are, like, so much more important than what MPs spend on furniture.

The problem is that the way in which Bills are put out is completely incompatible with the Internet era, so nobody out there ever knows what the heck people are actually voting for or against. We need to free our Bills in order for most people to be able to understand what matters about them.


Being the people who run TheyWorkForYou we spend lots of our time taking rubbish, broken information from Parliament and fixing it up so that it makes a nice, usable site so you can find out whether your MP is actually working for you or not. Lots of people seem to like it, nearly 2 million came to visit last year.

It’s time for Parliament to improve its act and start publishing these vital documents properly in the first place. Quite apart from the fact that we’re a tiny charity without many resources to fix this information, you’re paying for them to produce it in a uselessly old fashioned way. Unless Parliament produces better bills:

  • We can’t give you email alerts to tell you when a bill mentions something you might be interested in.
  • We can’t tell you what amendments your own MP is asking for, or voting on.
  • We can’t help people who know about bills annotate them to explain what they’re really going on about for everyone else.
  • We can’t build services that would help MPs and their staff notice when they were being asked to vote on dumb or dubious things.
  • We can’t really give a rounded view of how useful your MP is if we can’t see their involvement with the bill making process.
  • We can’t do about 12 zillion other things that we’re not even bright enough to think of yet.

to find out more information click here.


Anonymous said...

Sounds just the place for you, since ou would feel at home with those like yourself who are 'pushy bossy and arrogant, not to mention being masters of distortion and skilled diseminators of disinformation.

Steve R said...

your name calling isn't exactly devastating debating technique.

This post isn't even advocating a policy position to argue with, and yet you still steam in with your grammatically challenged playground insults.

If you want to give us some examples of our disinformation/ distortion, great. Then we can discuss them like adults.

And if you object to making Parliamentary process mare transparent, accessible to the public and accountable, please let us know why.

MttJocy said...

I've already put myself on their e-mail list for this campaign I have several alerts set up on the site so when one of those came through I saw information about the campaign on the site.

Not heard anything from them yet but I agree that regardless of what anyones political or policy positions are having open information on the processes of debate within the legislative branch can only ever be a good thing.

These bills govern every aspect of the daily lives of the citizens of this country, so of course this process should be open to the public to give feedback and also enable people to use their rights, ie the whole voting thing to not vote for MP's who are working against the will of the people when they vote on bills in parliament.

This can only help to make the legislative process more representative of the people who these laws are intended to govern, isn't this the whole point of a democracy? To me doing this would take us one step closer to a true democracy, something which modern technology is making possible due to it's ability too make bi-directional communication at all levels from government to the community and individual levels possible.